Gunmen attacked one of Pakistan’s biggest airports on Sunday and at least 23 people were killed, including all 10 of the attackers, media reported.
The attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan’s sprawling commercial hub of 18 million people, took place as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government tries to engage Pakistani Taliban militants in negotiations to end years of fighting.
Gun battles went on for several hours and television pictures showed fire raging at the airport as ambulances ferried casualties away, but by dawn on Monday, the army said the airport had been secured.
“(The attackers) were confined to two areas and eliminated,” the Dawn newspaper cited military spokesman Major-General Asim Bajwa as saying.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Pakistani Taliban militants, allied with but separate from the Afghan Taliban, are battling to overthrow the Pakistani state and impose their hardline vision of Islamist rule.
Earlier, officials said all flights had been diverted.
Peace talks between the government and the Pakistani Taliban have failed in recent months, dampening hopes of reaching a negotiated settlement with the insurgency, which continues attacks against government and security targets.
7 security men, 4 militant killed in attack on Karachi airport
At least 23 persons, including seven security personnel, have been killed when heavily armed militants attacked the Jinnah International Airport’s old terminal in Pakistan’s financial capital Karachi.
Around 10 to 12 men armed with explosives and ammunition dressed in airport security personnel uniforms entered the Fokker building at the old airport terminal late last night, police sources said.
Heavy contingents of Pakistan army and police have been called in and had surrounded the Fokker building where the attackers were holed up.
A gun battle was still continuing inside the old airport near the hangers and workshop as military and other security personnel tried to clear up the runaway and surrounding area from the terrorists.
Plumes of smoke and fire could be seen inside the old airport and a few loud explosions were also heard near the workshop and hanger area.
A spokesman of the Inter Services Pubic Relations confirmed that army units had been called from the nearby Malir cantonment base and said so far three terrorists had been killed in the gun battle while one blew himself up.
Security forces had cleared up one side of the old airport after killing the terrorists but there was still resistance and heavy gunfire coming from another direction near a workshop, Sindh police spokesman said.
“They are 11 dead bodies inside right now including one police official and some ASF jawans but three terrorists have been killed while one blew himself up as we corned him,” the spokesman, Imran Shaukat told reporters.
He denied that the terrorists had succeeded in blowing up or damaging the aircraft on the …continued »